Torquay Morrisons supermarket plan would 'drain' trade from other shops
PLANS to create a Morrisons supermarket at a derelict DIY store in Babbacombe Road, Torquay, could weaken the town centre.
Planners say creating the supermarket at the former Focus DIY site does not put the 'town centre first'.
They say the proposals could put early plans at risk for a food store on the Town Hall car park and will drain trade from other shopping areas, including Plainmoor.
But the applicants insist it will make the offer better for shoppers.
Holiday Home's FOR SALE in Brixham £1000 off New Homes, South...View details
£1000 Off Any New Holiday Home at Southbay Holiday Village. Prices of new starting from only £17,995 Facilities inc Club, Pools, shop etc, Quiet Park, Choice of Homes and Plots which are furnished
Terms: Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or with a P/X on park.Come and take a look today and own your own part of South Devon. For allot less than you can imagine!!Beach. Letting permitted
Contact: 01803 220485
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
A planning application which goes before Torbay Council's development management committee recommends refusal of the plans. The plans involve an application to alter the building and to vary conditions of use for use as a supermarket with associated deliveries.
Katie Hill, spokesman for applicants, Babbacombe Holdings Ltd, said: "We undertook a thorough Retail Impact Assessment, which shows our site will not put at risk the regeneration aspirations in the town centre in the short, medium and long term.
"The development of both stores taken together in their sustainable locations will have significant beneficial impact upon Torquay town centre and the area as a whole. It will also mean the council is in a better position to resist larger out of town stores in the future."
The Torbay Development Agency, responsible for economic regeneration in the Bay, submitted 13 objections to the scheme.
Documents due before the committee states: "Planning authorities should require applications for main town centre uses to be located in town centres, then in edge of centre locations and only if suitable sites are not available should out of centre sites be considered."
Documents show the store will have a turnover of £21.6million, drawn from custom elsewhere including the Willows, Torquay town centre, Plainmoor, St Marychurch, Babbacombe and other local shopping facilities.
There have been 121 letters of support who argue the store would improve the look of the site, provide better choice and value and is in walking distance for many residents.
There were 35 objections who argued poor design, increased traffic movements and impact on existing shops.
The Traders of Babbacombe, Wellswood and St Marychurch have registered objections.
Spokesman Tony Clark said: "It goes against the wishes of the vast majority of locals who do not want to lose their local shops or have juggernaut lorries along Babbacombe Road from 6am until midnight."
He added: "There is hardly a shortage of competition in the area with three Co-Op stores, Waitrose, Tesco, the Happy Apple and a new Sainsbury's coming to St Marychurch. The difference is these stores are within the community shopping areas, not pulling people away."
Ms Hill added: "Many local residents are looking forward to a store opening on the site — we hope members will also see the benefits of this scheme going forward. If permission is granted the site will deliver 225 jobs for local people by the end of this year, which in the current economic climate is something which should be welcomed. The plans also bring back to life a building which has remained empty for a number of years."